Saturday, May 31, 2008

Treasure Chest Cake--Gluten Free Yellow Cake

Yes, I'm crazy when it comes to birthday cakes. My mother always made the coolest cakes for us, and so I have to do the same for my daughter. In the past I've just not made them gluten free, but this year I figured I'd give it a shot. She decided she wanted a yellow cake to look like gold inside the treasure chest. I've had okay success with yellow cakes in the past, but nothing that I love, and nothing remotely like the yellow cake you get from one of those wheat-filled mixes at the store. While I was searching online, there seemed to be only one recipe for yellow cake, posted over and over again. Overall, the reviews were quite good, but there were a few bad ones that stuck out to me. So, i found a recipe for a moist yellow cake using cake flour, and I modified it. It actually worked pretty well, except it was far too thin and dense for me to make a treasure chest from, and it didn't seem at all like what I was looking for. It was a good butter cake recipe that would be good as a base for certain things, I'd particularly like to try it with the tres leches, but we'll see. After making that cake, I decided I needed another one, and I might as well take the opportunity to test out "the" yellow cake recipe. I used some of the advice I saw online and baked it with water in the oven to keep it moist, and it seems to have worked well. I had to cook it longer, but it really looks more like a wheat cake mix cake than I've seen gluten free before. I'm not sure about the taste, but I can work on modifying that later.
I am slightly paranoid that in my search for candies that would look like gems and make the decoration look good that I might have slipped some gluten-filled candies in, but hopefully John can just pick those off, get a slice without the treasure. By the way, to assemble the cake, I used Family Fun's template, but I needed to use a 9x13 pan's worth of cake, and I really only needed a 9x9 square cake but I made another 9x13 and had leftover cake. I cut the cakes down so that there are two layers of 9x5 1/2" cake, with chocolate sour cream frosting (made from Better Homes and Gardens recipe), then I cut off a 1" section from the middle of the cake and cut it diagonally down the center to make the wedges (I had to do this with the second yellow cake recipe) which I placed together, about 2/3 of the way to the back of the cake. I played around with them until they seemed they would support the lid in an open position. Then I frosted the bottom, added the wedges, frosted it, put the top on, made sure everything was frosted, and went to work on the decorations, made mostly of fruit by the foot and m&m minis. Voila!

Moist Yellow Cake
4 eggs, separated
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/2 cups Featherlight mix
1/2 cup GF mix
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 pan. Separate the eggs, putting whites in a large glass or stainless steel bowl, and yolks in a small container, being careful not to break them.

Sift together the flours, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt and set aside.

In another large bowl beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just until incorporated, starting and ending with the flour mixture.

Now, beat your egg whites until stiff peaks form. Mix in the egg whites using a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan itself for 15 mins and then gently tap it onto a cooling rack.

"The" Gluten Free Yellow Cake recipe (can be found all over the web)

1 1/2 cups Featherlight flour mix
3/4 cup GF flour mix
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tbsp baking powder
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. I used Pam to spray a 9x13 pan.
Mix the white rice flour, tapioca flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together and set aside.
Mix the eggs, sugar, and mayonnaise until fluffy. Add the flour mixture, milk and vanilla and mix well. Spread batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, with a pan filled with steaming water on the rack below the cake. Cakes are done when they spring back when lightly touched or when a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Let cool completely, then frost.
So, I wanted to post a follow-up on this cake. I thought it would be helpful to see this cross-section of the cake to see the difference between the two recipes, as well as to see how I constructed the cake. you can see the two wedges supporting the lid layer, as well as the candy holding up the rim. I also feel that you can see a real difference between the two types of cake. The very bottom layer is the first recipe, the one I modified. It really tastes great, a good dense butter cake, but not a typical birthday cake. I really loved how well the second recipe rose, and stayed fluffy. I didn't, however, love the taste. That needs to be modified, but, all in all it really was a good recipe, especially for this cake.


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Michelle Baker said...

Did you find that the top "lid" of the chest slid or fell any? I am planning on making this in two weeks (gluten free, since my brother in law is allergic), and was curious!

John, Megan and girls said...

I was really pretty impressed that the lid didn't seem to slip at all, once I had it adjusted where I wanted it. I think it was a combination of the icing and the cake wedges that I used. I also kept it in the refrigerator before eating it. Hope it works out for you!

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